Handling the Worried Insecure Client
Clients are in a dither these days. Too much uncertainty, too many decisions to make with what often feels like too little information and too much chaos.
No big surprise that their resulting insecurity often spills over into their interactions with you. But here’s the thing. You have umpteen matters on your plate and are in the same place of uncertainty as everyone else. It’s therefore tempting, when your client unloads yet another worry on you to yell, “Get over it! It’s been a hellish year for all of us!” However, since you can’t do that, you are sometimes reduced to the platitudinous “Everything’s fine, trust me.”
Not a good idea. Such a statement will only aggravate the client’s anxiety because if they believed everything was fine, they wouldn’t be anxious in the first place. Instead, bite the bullet, and with as much compassion as you can muster, acknowledge your client’s anxiety. “It’s normal to feel anxious. These are worrisome times.” Let them respond, and then come back with a similar reassuring phrase until you sense that your client’s anxiety is somewhat diminished. At that point, and only at that point, is it useful to say something like “I’ve got things well in hand, and I am confident we will see this matter through successfully.”
More than anything, people need to feel heard. Let your client know that you really do “hear” him, emotionally as well as with your ears. You will have a much improved relationship with that client.